Things are heating up once again on the labour front, with mediation emerging as the next step…

There’s a big difference between mediation and arbitration in that mediation is voluntary. The meeting will “take place in D.C. under the auspices of George H. Cohen, director of the FMCS.”

The players association has already commented via Twitter (obviously):

“The NFLPA has always focused on a fair collective bargaining agreement through negotiations. We hope that this renewed effort, through mediation, will help the players and owners reach a successful deal.”

The league released the most simple statement in the history of statements:

“We are now in mediation.”

Finally, Cohen gave his two cents, per the Washington Post:

“I have had separate, informal discussions with the key representatives of the National Football League and the National Football League Players Association during the course of their negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement,” Cohen said in a written statement. “At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under my auspices in Washington, D.C., commencing Friday, February 18.

“Due to the extreme sensitivity of these negotiations and consistent with the FMCS’s long-standing practice, the Agency will refrain from any public comment concerning the future schedule and/or the status of those negotiations until further notice.”

Cohen himself can’t rule anything, but he can make recommendations. He’ll help control the chaos.¬†Apart from that, I don’t know what this means. I’m not overly smart and I’m not a lawyer (yet). But it sounds progressive to me.